Lenten Hymns: Glory, Laud and Honor

Posted by Ty.Gomez on March 28, 2017

Palm Sunday Youth

All glory, laud, and honor
To You, Redeemer, King,
To Whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

The Palm Sunday celebration of Christ’s “triumphant” entrance into Jerusalem seems a little discordant to me. To be sure it has always been a joyful, uplifting experience. And the hymns that are traditionally sung on Palm Sunday reflect that spirit. “All Glory, Laud and Honor” is one of those hymns. The accompaniment is bold and loud, and you can usually sing at the top of your lungs without too much fear that someone in an adjacent pew will be able to tell you are a little off pitch.

The company of angels
Is praising You on high;
And we with all creation
In chorus make reply.

The Palm Sunday vibe is meant to reflect the spirit of the moment when an enthusiastic crowd lined the path that Jesus traveled, riding on a donkey and accompanied by his entourage of common folks who’d been drawn to him, called to be his disciples. Undoubtedly, the crowd included curious onlookers and those who’d heard stories of his mysterious powers and rumors of messianic promise. Could he be the leader they yearned for? Someone to solve all their problems? A military leader? A ruler who could overturn oppression and restore their birthright? They were ready to jump on the bandwagon, to cheer enthusiastically that he was what they hoped he’d be.

The people of the Hebrews
With palms before You went;
Our praise and prayer and anthems
Before You we present.

And every Palm Sunday, we symbolically relive this procession. But unlike the crowd of enthusiastic onlookers, we know what’s going to happen next. We know that the cheers of the crowd will turn into jeers. Tributes will turn into tribulation. Singing children replaced with a chorus of angry accusations of treason and sedition. Waving palms replaced with cracking whips. We know where this road ultimately leads.

To You before Your passion
They sang their hymns of praise;
To You, now high exalted,
Our melody we raise.

I’ve heard it said that Palm Sunday lures us into participation in order to condemn us. That our “Hosannas” are our first words of betrayal of the Jesus we claim to love. There is no doubt that Palm Sunday becomes the crest of the first hill on the emotional roller coaster that is Holy Week. And like those cheering crowds on the way into Jerusalem, we tend to want to see Jesus the way that we want him to be. And at times, we are quick to turn away when our vision of the Messiah’s role in our lives is not fulfilled in our own time or in the way that we think that it should be.  But the Holy Week experience is about God’s time and God’s purpose. The poor, itinerant preacher, riding on a donkey is not the mighty military general or political ruler we might want him to be.

As You received their praises,
Accept the prayers we bring,
For You delight in goodness,
O good and gracious King! 

Palm Sunday reminds us that at times we are blind and deaf to the true message of a leader who dwells and delights in the company of the poor, the marginalized and the weak. He announces shalom and calls us to be instruments of justice in an unjust world. He calls us to love and care for one another, to turn the other cheek and to love our enemies. And when his message doesn’t fit our own concept of what we want Jesus to be, do the cheers turn to jeers? Does the parade become a funeral march? Palm Sunday calls us to consider what we are cheering for and how we can continue our walk with Jesus in times of trial and celebration.

All glory, laud, and honor
To You, Redeemer, King,
To Whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

Ty Gomez is a Texas native, NorthPark Presbyterian ruling elder, and soccer dad. In his spare time he practices law, plans more unfinished woodworking projects, and cooks for the women in his home.


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